The Bizarre Insanity
of Banning Bottled Water

You may have seen the news on Facebook or heard the stories on NPR: Concord, Massachusetts, has banned bottled water, and certain “liberal” colleges in Vermont have banned it, too. Al Gore spent a lot of his media attention after the huge success of Inconvenient Truth blaming bottled water (and incandescent lightbulbs) for our climate problems. Not GMOs, which he helped make possible. Not Diet Pepsi from a can, which I’ve seen him drink. Not high-fructose corn syrup or biofuels, which he also helped make possible. But bottled water—the ONLY healthy cold drink available for sale. And probably the only cold drink that does not have a massively funded lobbying arm behind it.

And yet it isn’t politicians leading this campaign, it’s well-meaning individuals—ENVIRONMENTALISTS—cheering on the success of keeping kids from having a nice cold drink of water.

I remember the world before bottled water. I remember pulling into a gas station when I was a teenager and looking at a soda machine and making a desperate wish that one day…ONE DAY…I would be able to get some nice cold water out of there. Why? What drinking fountains of the day dispensed was almost always foul tasting and lukewarm. And I have always found sugary drinks to leave a horrible aftertaste that actually makes me MORE thirsty, not less. I often pack my own water. But sometimes, sometimes—like on a road trip—that water runs out or gets too warm to drink. Sometimes my kids cry in the backseat that they are thirsty and really want water. Not soda, which they don’t even really like, but water! What am I supposed to say to them? “Sorry, honies, but you have to drink soda”?

In this day and age when there are thousands of studies that show the horrible health effects of soda—diet, high-fructose corn syrup, or even real sugar loaded—THIS is what our environmentalists spend their time fighting for?! How about fighting to keep our water clean and free of pesticides, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals that poison all of us, no matter whether it comes from a faucet or a plastic bottle? How about working to ban Pepsi?! (Not Coke, please, which makes me feel better when I feel sick). Or how about working to ban all plastic?! I’d much rather drink my water from a glass bottle anyway, given the effects of plastic on health. But is that banned too?

Come on, people, please turn your righteousness in the right direction! Banning water might feel like a win in the short term, but it’s a major loss in the long term. And the biggest loss is the misdirection of energy it creates in very intelligent people who could otherwise be solving real problems.

I believe Al Gore means well (after all, Rodale Inc. did publish Inconvenient Truth, and I’m a big fan of Laurie David). But we have to get our priorities in order, and environmentalists need to deeply understand that saving “energy” is useless if we are all insane and sick from toxic chemicals.

As I always say, the planet—our dearest Earth—will be just fine without us. It’s us that we need to save. This is just one more piece of evidence that we have a long, hard road ahead of us…with nothing cold to drink except soda.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: TheDigitel Myrtle Beach

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16 Responses to The Bizarre Insanity
of Banning Bottled Water

  1. Andrea January 23, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    You might believe Al Gore “means well”, Maria… but I won’t even give him that much!! Besides, the path to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Look to the money, girl… follow the stench of the greenback$… there you will find the reason why any men in political power, of any kind whatsoever… on both sides of the aisle & up the middle too… do things. I make it my policy to never defend any of them! As soon as you do, they’re going to do something really really stupid that’s going to show what color their stripes truly are… and you’re going to be standing there with egg on your face. Nope… I don’t defend not a one of em… not a one!

    *sigh*

    Diet Pepsi anyone??!!! *pfffft* :-(

  2. Dana B January 23, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    I see your point about getting rid of soft drinks before water, but I also see how our society totally abuses bottled water. Never is this more evident than at Costco.

    Good, clean water should be an option always, but I’d also love to see our society make the shift to carrying our own water bottles. Imagine a clean, cold water dispenser at every gas station for quick fill ups (of course with stainless steel water bottles for sale next to it).

    Or you can go the way of Grand Rapids and sell boxed water. These were all the rage this past summer: http://www.boxedwaterisbetter.com/

  3. Donna January 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I absolutely think it is a proper start for cities to ban bottled water. One, the plastic is “evil”, contaminates the water with BPA, and then contaminates the planet with more plastic. Who says it is a healthy drink, it is more often than not just boiled water. The label may say purified water, I read it as putrified water. Two, the public is being scammed, the bottling companies are practically taking the water from a person’s own faucet and selling it back to them at nearly 100 percent profit, that is ludicrous. You say you take your own water bottle, that is great; it doesn’t always work out for you? Plan better! I live in the country and have to travel at least 10 miles to any shopping, event or civilization, I always take my own (BPA free or glass or SS) bottle of water. If I am going for a whole day, I put an ice pack in a small cooler and pack extra bottles of my own fine tap water! On a hot day I also take the cooler and “trade out” the warmer water for the cool one, putting the warmer water on ice for the next trade. I always have my bottle with me, at my committee meetings, local events, gardening class, etc. I sometimes wonder what people might be saying, “I am like a baby with a binky”…but I am the one who is not thirsty and not being poisoned by what I drink.

  4. John January 23, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    If you would see what bottling companies do to the water tables and the peoples ability to use their own wells you would not support them.Between corporations like Pepsi, Coca Cola, Nestle and others that destroy our aquifers and then filling that water into billions of destructive chemical laced plastic bottles made from oil and the destruction the same companies do to our health we should support ANYONE that fights against this. Moreover if you believe that drinking water from a chemical laced plastic bottle is healthy then you need to have your brain examined.

  5. Diane Husic January 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    John and Donna above hit on some key issues with respect to water bottles: the release of toxic plasticizers into the water, especially when exposed to heat or light and upon reuse and the large multi-national corporations who have questionable practices, which includes taking precious water resources for developing nations and shipping this across thousands of miles when our tap water is usually just fine and can be put into reuseable metal water bottles.

    Besides the tremendous “food mile” tally and thus, carbon footprint of transporting bottled water, there are other serious issues. A few years back, the Sierra Club had a great brochure about the problems of bottled water. The data is a bit old now, but given the sales of bottled water, the problems are only worse now.

    “In 2005, 28 billion bottles of water were sold, mostly in PET containers, according to the Container Recycling Institute. In 2004, the last year for which data is available, 85 percent of all
    non-carbonated PET bottles ended up in landfills, or as litter in parks and along roadways–that’s 24 billion empty water bottles–66 million every day!”

    ” The Pacific Institute estimates that production of bottled water for U.S. consumption in 2006 required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy used for transportation. This released over 2.5 million tons
    of carbon dioxide, a major global warming gas.”

    I am all for promoting water as an important beverage that is essential for life and calorie free. But I support elimimation of the plastic water bottle and the large profits made by exploitive corporations.

  6. heatherhurlock January 23, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    We all know that plastic is bad. That it leaches horrible toxins and ideally all plastic bottles should be banned. That’s not the point. The point is, soda is bottled water with carmel color and high-fructose corn syrup. It’s the same filtered water in a similar plastic bottle. Where’s the outrage? I agree that the answer is to provide a reliable source of filtered water alongside reusable containers. BUT, we cannot assume that once the water bottles go, the soda bottles will follow. However, it is more likely that once the soda bottles go, the water bottles will follow.

  7. Lyza January 24, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    I am totally in support of banning bottled water. If only this could be implemented anywhere around the world, then it will truly be a good start in preserving our planet.

  8. Charlotte January 24, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Love this! Plastics intended for food use is safe, especially PET bottles. Plastic makes our world possible – you touch it everywhere from the moment you open your eyes.

  9. Donna in Delaware January 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Agree with Donna and John. Most times these companies are using tap water and selling it to you. I have a whole house water filtering system that works well. Changing the filters once a year is economical. There are three filters and it really pulls and captures impurities. It’s amazing, and the drinking water is very very good. The filters are not cheap, but well worth it.

    I had an amazing water filtering system when I lived in Canada with lights. As the water passed through, the UV lights killed any organism present and the filters downstairs trapped so much copper and sand, it was really amazing! Had to have it since we had wells. The water, needless to say, was perfect for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. Let’s get rid of the plastic!

  10. Donna in Delaware January 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    By the way, why do we need water to drink from Fiji, of all places? Don’t we have enough here?

  11. Deb January 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    I to run around with my water bottle. Usually it is from my home tap (well water). I don’t like soda, but when I want bubbles I can only find bubble water from France or Italy. Where’s the US ‘bubble spring’?

  12. teresa January 26, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    The bottled water industry is very corrupt. You should watch these documentaries: Blue Gold, Flow, and Tapped.

  13. Leshelle January 30, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    I usually agree with most things you say, but this is one thing I can’t stand by. The bpa, the waste, the chemicals in just making water bottles is killing this planet. Replacing the bottles with filling stations is the way to go. More and more people are carrying their own bpa free/ stainless steel bottles. This will cause more people to do the same.

  14. Amy January 30, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    I’d rather be thirsty than PAY for water. But banning soda? Are we no longer a free nation? All we can do is educate. If people choose not to buy, the market will go away. That’s how it works here in this great (dumbed-down) nation.

  15. Mullein February 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Wow, thanks Maria. Once again you have brought up a topic that could definitely benefit from more discussion and reasoned thinking.

    I’m saddened to be denied the option of occasionally purchasing a healthy beverage option (bottled filtered water) because of bottled water is deemed bad for the environment because it comes in plastic bottles. Wait… isn’t sodapop sold in plastic bottles, too? I’m confused – if the reason for eliminating bottled water is because it comes in plastic bottles, well then why aren’t plastic sodapop bottles being included in this issue?

    Let me ask this – if we’re truly concerned about plastic bottles polluting the environment and filling up the landfills, let’s broaden this “anti-bottled water” stance to include the gazillion more sodapop plastic bottles that are sold every day! Plastic water bottles are only a very small overall part of the entire amount of the plastic beverage bottles. Let’s include ALL plastic beverages bottles (sodapop, etc.) in our concern for the environment.

    And Maria is right on the mark with her observation that sodapop corporations have huge political lobbies. Doesn’t it make one wonder who/what is behind the initial original push for getting rid of bottled water? Could it be the sodapop corporations? Forcing folks to buy their products by eliminating the bottled water competition only increases their profits… definitely something for us to ponder…

    So please, think it over before you automatically become ‘anti-bottled water” and ultimately end up eliminating one of the few healthy beverage options.

    In regards to our health, research has shown that chlorine and fluoride are detrimental to our health. City tap water has both chemicals added to it, by law.

    Because I really want the healthiest water possible, and because chlorine and fluoride are definitely questionable chemicals to be taking into our bodies, I researched home filtration systems. I discovered that most affordable home water-processing systems, while helping to remove chlorine/fluoride and other large molecules from the city tap water, unfortunately do NOT filter out many additional impurities, impurities I wasn’t aware existed in our city tap water…

    Let me give some examples. What about manganese? Does your city tap water have high levels of manganese in it, like some areas of Madison, WI? A filtration system does NOT remove it – and high levels of manganese in the brain are implicated in depression… Knowing that, would you want to put extra manganese in your body? Heck, no!

    And what about all the prescription and hormonal drugs that are likewise found in the city tap water? These, too, are NOT filtered out by most home filtration systems. Do you want to be taking these hormones and prescription drugs into your body? NO, especially not when research has shown that many cancers are implicated with an excess of hormones.

    So it’s clear to me, bottled filtered water, especially when bought from a reverse osmosis machine and dispensed into your own bottles, is a much healthier choice than city tap water. Please don’t force folks to drink city tap water, when they don’t want to, based on the premise that plastic bottles are bad for the environment…. Please – let us keep one of the few available healthier beverage options!

    Like Maria, when on the road I really would like to have a healthy option when I must occasionally purchase a beverage from a sodapop machine or at a concert venue. Why should we be forced to buy that sugar and/or chemical-laden water commonly known as sodapop? How does that make sense?

    Thanks, Maria, for once again bringing up a relevant topic. :)

    Mullein

  16. Linja March 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Good article. I don’t drink soft drinks and always carry my own water but it does get hot in the car plus we run out quickly in summer. I have stopped in gas stations and even a BBQ place that did not have potable tap water. (For those unfamiliar with country wells, potable means safe to drink.)

    And in spite of persistent stories, most plastic today is less toxic than the impurities found in a lot of tap water.

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